Rostov look for their first points against Györ
There was little doubt that Györ and CSM Bucuresti were the most impressive teams during Round 1, as last year’s finallists look to improve their record on Saturday.
However, both teams will be up for a challenge in their away matches, with the Hungarian powerhouse clashing with a wounded team in Rostov.
• Györ are 21 goals shy of scoring the 4,400th goal in the history of the competition
• After winning against one Danish coach, Jan Leslie, Jakob Vestergaard of CSM will face Kristian Kristensen of FCM on Saturday
• CSM will miss Line Jörgensen and Cristina Varzaru is doubtful, while Oana Manea was cleared after injuring her back on Wednesday
• The Romanian side enjoy a 100 per cent record against Midtjylland, with two wins in two matches in the Main Round last season
Rostov-Don (RUS) vs Györi Audi ETO KC (HUN)
Saturday, 16:00 hrs local time, live on ehfTV.com
There is no room for error for Rostov-Don, after the Russian side recorded their first loss in this year’s competition, against CSM Bucuresti.
There is also no time for coach Jan Leslie to help his team come together after a flurry of important signings in the summer, as the Györ challenge is looming.
Therefore, Alexandrina Barbosa, Anna Vyakhireva, Siraba Dembele or Ana Paula Rodrigues are expected to perform better than they did in the 24:21 loss to Bucurest last Sunday.
The Hungarian side has produced one of the best performances of Round 1, after they handed one of the worst ever defeats to FC Midtjylland, 31:19.
A Norwegian backbone formed by Kari Aalvik Grimsbö, Nora Mörk and Heidi Löke impressed and are expected to be again at their best against Rostov.
However, patience and calm are advocated by coach Ambros Martin: “Our group is really difficult, we can’t lean back, we have to consider the victory against Midtjylland as the beginning of a long journey. We have seen what CSM did and we must improve ourselves.”
Györ had an entire week to prepare for the game against the Russian powerhouse, as they did not have a game scheduled in the domestic championship, while Rostov powered by past Universitet Izhevsk, 39:20.
The Russian side is sweating over the fitness of line player Ksenia Makeeva, who has a chest injury from the game against Izhevsk, but Leslie hopes to have the player ready to go on Saturday.
“We had an off day against CSM, but we cannot afford to repeat it. It’s of the utmost importance to win against Györ, a very, very good team,” said Jan Leslie.
The two sides have shared the wins in their mutual games, 13 years ago, in the Cup Winners’ Cup Last 16 phase, with the Hungarian powerhouse progressing to the next phase.
FC Midtjylland (DEN) vs CSM Bucuresti (ROU)
Saturday, 18:30 hrs local time, live on ehfTV.com
A change of coach and several important moves in the team’s roster were not the perfect preparations for CSM’s new season. But the Romanian champions picked up where they left off last season and impressed with a 24:21 win against Rostov-Don.
The astute defence, an insightful attack and two world-class goalkeepers in Grubisic and Ungureanu are CSM’s main advantages this season, in which the Romanian powerhouse eyes to retain the trophy.
However, the Romanian side’s start of the season has been marred by injury problems. Right back Line Jörgensen is out for the next five months with a torn ligament in her left wrist that required surgery.
Right wing Cristina Varzaru could also be absent with a knee injury. However, the extent of the damage is unclear and it will be decided by the team doctor on match day if she can play or not.
Oana Manea injured her back in the 38:21 win against CSM Cetate Deva on Wednesday, but was cleared to play.
“We are currently at 50 per cent of what we are capable of, but we must have a gradual increase in our level of play. I am happy that the team that won against Rostov.”
“But this is the toughest group in the competition and we simply cannot afford to lose points in any game and Midtjylland is a tough opponent,” said Jakob Vestergaard, CSM’s coach.
The Danish side is roaring to make their comeback after one of the most lopsided defeats ever in the Women’s EHF Champions League, 31:19, against Györ.
Midtjylland have already scored a win after the painful result, 26:19, against Silkeborg, in the Danish League.
“I am really excited that the team has bounced back after a defeat and we are back on track after that result. We really felt down after we lost in Hungary, but we need to pick ourselves up and continue with this against CSM,” said Kristian Kristensen, FCM’s coach, after the win against Silkeborg.
The Danish side looks set to miss Stine Jörgensen, while Eliza Buceschi is slowly coming back into game form, after a slew of injuries.
The two sided have met in the Main Round last season, with CSM recording two wins, 24:22 in Romania and 28:23 in Denmark.